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COVID-19: A Letter from the President 3-15-2020

March 15, 2020 6:30 p.m.


Dear Students,


I’m writing today to encourage those of you who are still on campus to return home as soon as possible. With Chattanooga having its first confirmed case of the coronavirus—and with that person having ties to the Lookout Mountain community—and with so many in our own community having returned from different parts of the country/world, it really is important that you gather your possessions and return home as quickly as you are able.


We’ve done our best to accommodate travel schedules and flight arrangements by allowing until 5pm on Wednesday, March 18, for you to move out of your residence halls. However, that accommodation was not made for the purpose of facilitating final gatherings, lengthy goodbyes, or extended fellowship. As much as we love the rich community we enjoy at Covenant—and you will not find many who are bigger fans of that life-shaping community than I am—the current circumstances dictate that we all return to our homes as quickly as possible, out of love and care for our friends on the mountain and at home.


To be clear, my encouragement to you is born out of a concern both for the most vulnerable in our own community and for those in your own homes and home communities. The more aggressively we maintain social distancing and self-quarantine, the more rapidly the curve on the spread of the coronavirus flattens and the fewer people are seriously affected. So, out of care for friends and family, please head home as soon as you can.


Finally, let me say that I truly am sorry for the manner in which this year—and for some of you, your season or even your college experience—is coming to an end. As someone who spent four years living on campus at Covenant, I love everything about hall life, meals in the Great Hall, interaction with faculty, the tight-knit community, etc. All of those things were central to the outstanding educational experience I had at Covenant. I hate that we are having to take such drastic measures, and that doing so negatively impacts your Covenant College experience.


That said, I trust that God is sovereign, and that he works all things—good things and bad things—together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. I don’t know how God will use this unfortunate situation for good in your lives or in the life of Covenant College, but I am confident he will. And my confidence is only bolstered by the remarkable way in which so many of you have responded to the disappointment and frustration caused by this situation. Your faith and resilience in challenging circumstances is a testament to God’s work in your lives.


Thank you, again, for your patience and understanding during this unusual season, and thank you for returning to your homes quickly.


We love you.


In Christ,


J. Derek Halvorson, Ph.D.
Covenant College


In omnibus Christus primatum tenens